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The following story contains spoilers for You Season 3.
It's wild to think back to the fall of 2018, when You—the stalker thriller starring former Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley—was just a little-known and little-seen show (but one held in juicy high-regard) airing on Lifetime. Based on Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, the show had a small-but-devoted audience that, given just how many shows there are on TV at any given moment, likely would have slipped under the radar. Then a shrewd move happened, though—the show landed with Netflix.
When Lifetime's You hit Netflix in early 2019, it became an instantly enormous buzzy hit; the show was already moving to Netflix, and audiences made it clear that was a smart choice. The show has since debuted a Season 2 and, now, a Season 3 that have both been super popular on the streaming giant. And Netflix recently announced that Season 4 is on the way.
The show is simple enough—Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) thinks he's a good guy who lives his life by his own particular code. He loves books. He's a "nice guy." He stalks people. He murders people. It...spirals out of hand quite quickly, actually. But Joe—through Badgley's immaculate narration—always seems to be on top of things. It's almost like a spiritual successor to what Dexter did for all those years on showtime, but with a bit of winking self-awareness that make the show actually quite a bit smarter than you probably realize.
You isn't exactly prestige television; it's a soapy, juicy, thriller drama, where about 4 plot twists and turns happen per episode. It's also got really good acting (from Badgley and Victoria Pedretti, in particular), and is consistently on-point with its narration and viewpoint on social stances and issues.
And part of what has made You so much fun to return to now three times is how the show continually reinvents itself. Its New York-set first season was distinctly different from its Los Angeles-set second season which was completely different from its suburb-set ("Madre Linda") third season. And along the way we've gotten to see different shades and angles of Joe, as well as Pedretti's character, Love, who returned for Season 3.
And with the show now set to return again for Season 4, we're eager to see how it will continue to grow.
Will there be a Season 4 of You?
There sure will be. Netflix announced that You would be returning for Season 4 on October 13, 2021 just before the October 15 release of the show's third season. The announcement came with both a video and an official statement.
Sera Gamble, the executive producer and showrunner of You, gave this comment in a press release from Netflix:
"Reading Caroline's novel, Greg and I were instantly obsessed with Joe Goldberg and his twisted world view. And it's been thrilling to watch Penn bring Joe to creepy yet compelling life. We're deeply grateful that Netflix has shown You such monumental support and that people around the world have enjoyed watching Joe really get it all very wrong over the past 3 seasons. The whole You team is excited to explore new, dark facets of love in season 4."
What will Season 4 of You be about?
At the end of Season 3, Joe faked his own death, staging a murder-suicide at Love's hands that also implicated her for the deaths of, well, just about everyone else in Madre Linda who disappeared (which would include Natalie, who she actually killed, along with anti-vaxxer Gil and asshole newsman Ryan Goodwin). Off the grid, we see at the very end of the show that he's now relocated to Paris (after a fakeout of two guys talking about New York).
And after a vision in Paris of a woman who resembled Marienne, it's clear that the former librarian is still on his mind and the object of his obsession. The season marked Joe's transformation from a lead-villain—he had very few redemptive qualities in Season 1 and 2—to more of an anti-hero; that was done through playing up the unpredictable and impulsive qualities of Love, which Victoria Pedretti really did wonderful work in conveying while still making Love a fully-human being that we kind of care for (until we remember that she is a threat to kill someone at any given moment).
Something that Season 3 did really, really well is to make one thing abundantly clear to the viewers: Joe is not as self-aware as he thinks he is. The Joe we hear through his narration is always sharing some observations that, let's face it, are pretty damn true. We don't want to agree with a murderer/stalker/weirdo, but a lot of the time he's right. But by Season 3, when he starts talking about how Marienne is going to be his happy-ever-after, observant viewers should start to recognize the pattern.
This man spent the entirety of Season 1 lusting over Guinevere Beck only to (presumably, we still can't be 100% sure) kill her. He spent all of Season 2 lusting over Love Quinn only for her to turn out to be an even bigger monster than he was, and basically trick him into settling into a domesticated life with a wife and child; even when he claimed to be "happy," he instantly moved onto the next thing, whether it was Natalie, or, eventually, Marienne. Joe Goldberg is never going to be happy; he's always going to be looking for the next thin. And maybe Marienne, in Season 4, will be one to finally realize that—outsmart him for good.
But she also made it clear that relocating him to the romantic European city represented another opportunity for the show to once again do what it's already done twice: reinvent itself. "What's a completely different kind of environment to put him in?" she asked. "And then also, what haven't we done that could potentially get him into lots of trouble?"
She also teased that every surviving character who's crossed paths with Joe could be a threat, including Theo, Dottie, Matthew, and even Ellie. ""I would put pretty much everyone who's ever met Joe and gotten away to be on the threat list," she said.
Will Season 4 of You be based on a book?
That's a good question. While Season 1 followed the first book in the series from author Caroline Kepnes (titled, appropriately, You), Season 2 was adapted from the second book in the series, Hidden Bodies, and Season 3 made some pretty major changes to the third book in the series, 2021's You Love Me.
There's no fourth book in the series (and the series had already veered pretty significantly from the events of the book as well. So it seems lik Gamble is on her own in that regard, for now, but will still have Kepnes around—she's a producer on the show. In the same interview with E! Online, Gamble said specifically that the author has "a lot of really interesting ideas and perspectives on Joe as a father."
When will Season 4 of You come out?
We don't know exactly when Season 4 of You will come out just yet. But we can go based on previous releases to get a hint. Season 1 rolled out weekly during the fall of 2018—but keep in mind that this was when the show was airing on Lifetime, and not Netflix. Season 2 came out in late December, 2019. Season 3 took almost 2 years to come out, landing on Netflix in October 2021—but that, of course, accounted for a large period that was likely delays due to Covid.
If we had to guess—and of course this is based on basically nothing—You Season 4 could be back in either Fall or Winter of 2022.
Who will be in the cast of Season 4 of You?
With our action—at least temporarily—moving to Paris, France the only character we can be sure about returning is Joe Goldberg, played of course by Penn Badgley. The object of his affection is still Marienne, played by Tati Gabrielle, so we can feel fairly confident that she will be making some sort of appearance in Season 4 as well.
Apart from those two, it's anyone's game. Matthew Anger (Scott Speedman) and his son Theo (Dylan Arnold) seem to be in a good place in Madre Linda, so we've likely seen the last of them. The same goes for Sherry (Sharlita Grant) and Cary (Travis Van Winkle), who are thriving more than ever after surviving the Joe/Love experience.
A couple characters that could be back: Love's mother, Dottie (Saffron Burrows), who is troubled and could be even more troubled now that both of her twins are gone. We didn't see Ellie (Jenna Ortega) in Season 3, but Joe clearly cares about her—he had been sending her money all season long—and she's still in the picture. She will almost certainly return in some capacity before the series ends.
And just want to toss this one out there: Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). The first object of Joe's affection that we saw in You is presumed dead. But, folks, we never saw a body. We never saw what happened. Just some food for thought—you can be the judge on that one.
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